In May 2013 Butterfly Wonderland opened in Scottsdale, Arizona. Located on Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community land, it is the first of several attractions, entertainment venues, retail stores and restaurants planned for a development there called OdySea in the Desert. The plans include a huge aquarium, an IMAX® theatre and a Ripley's Believe It or Not! museum. You can see the site plan for the project here.
Butterfly Wonderland boasts that it is "America's Largest Butterfly Atrium," home to thousands of butterflies. But be patient -- there are things to do before you even get to the atrium. First, be sure to watch the 3D film, "Flight of the Butterflies." This version has been edited from 44 minutes to about 15 minutes, so most children will be patient enough to sit through the film. You adults out there, try to fight the desire to reach out and touch the butterflies in the film. It's cute when the kids do it, but...
After you watch the film, you'll enter the Butterfly Emergence Gallery. Here you will see the third stage of butterfly metamorphosis in action. Some people in the room thought it was a staged or fake exhibit, but it is not. If you are observant, you might see a butterfly hatching right before your eyes.The butterfly conservatory, the highlight of any visit to Butterfly Wonderland, is 10,000 square feet of rainforest, complete with koi pond and a butterfly bench for family photo opportunities. Here is where you'll spend the most time during your visit, unless you discover that your youngster has a fear of flying insects. Yes, it happens. There will be plenty of little ones, squealing with delight as they spot butterflies resting in the foliage, eating from fruit bowls, or even landing on their heads. Keep the camera at the ready!
After you've enjoyed the conservatory, stop in the cafe for a snack or beverage, and then continue on to see a bee colony, ant farms, some desert creatures, fish from the Amazon and a stingray touch tank.
Your last stop will be in the colorful and well-stocked gift shop. Good luck getting through there without buying something for the kids -- or for yourself!
Butterfly Brief: There are more than 300 species of butterflies in Arizona.
All dates, times, prices and offerings are subject to change without notice.